Inter winger Ivan Perisic revealed he nearly joined Manchester United, but Luciano Spalletti convinced him to remain with the Nerazzurri.
The Croatian was all but gone from the Giuseppe Meazza before the start of the last season, with the Red Devils heavily linked with the 29-year-old.
Perisic confirmed that while an offer was on the table, Spalletti’s desire to keep him at Inter was key in his decision to stay.
“It’s true that an offer from Manchester United was on the table – I was really close to leaving Inter,” he told FourFourTwo.
“When Luciano Spalletti arrived [in June 2017], he showed tremendous desire to keep me in the team and made it clear he didn’t want to lose me. That was very encouraging, and I haven’t regretted my decision to stay at Inter. In football, small details in these situations are key.
“Admiration from a coach like Mourinho is definitely something that flattered me. It’s confirmation of hard work and good performances.
“When you’re praised by a guy like Mourinho – the manager of a huge club like Man United – it’s difficult not to think about such an offer. I’m glad he has a high opinion of me. These things motivate me to work and train hard, to achieve the best performances.”
Although a move to United fell through, Perisic admits he still harbours hopes of testing himself in the Premier League.
“In football, you never say never,” he added. “From the beginning of my career, I’ve had the ambition to play in as many big leagues as possible, and I still have that desire to test myself in other leagues.
“And I mean in the Spanish or English leagues. I hope Inter fans understand my point of view. I’m an athlete and a professional, I like challenges and this is my driving force.
“What the future will bring, I don’t know. Now I’m focused on Inter, as we try to make a bigger step forward from last season.”